Posts Tagged ‘bus’

Metrobus Ridership During the Rail Safety Shutdown

May 23rd, 2016 2 comments

When Metrorail closed on March 16th, tens of thousands of rail riders switched to bus, including almost 20,000 riders who took their first bus ride in over a month! Bus-to-bus transfers spiked 45%, and ridership surged in downtown and central areas but fell in the suburbs.

Ballston Bus

Special thanks to the Systems & Performance Analysis team in Bus Planning for their help developing this analysis.

When Metrorail closed on Wednesday, March 16, Metrobus braced for impact as over 700,000 displaced rail trips sought alternatives. But there was little time or capacity to significantly alter bus service. What happened to bus ridership?

Overall ridership as tallied by the farebox came in at just 5% over the monthly average, or about 20,000 additional trips. So the changes look fairly small given the volume of displaced rail trips.

But don’t be fooled by the bottom line.  Underneath that total, a seismic shift was taking place. Read more…

Biking near Buses: Watch Out for Blind Spots!

May 19th, 2016 4 comments

Bus operators are trained to look for cyclists, but they can’t see you if you’re in their blind spot. Come see a bus’s blind spots for yourself at Fort Totten!

Unless you’ve driven a bus (or large truck) yourself, it can be hard to get a feel for where the blind spots are in real life. This Bike to Work Day (May 20th), come see for yourself what bus operators can — and, more importantly, can’t — see on the road. Metro’s Fort Totten pit-stop will feature a live Metrobus demonstration with experienced Metrobus instructors. Hop in the driver’s seat (and who doesn’t want to experience that air cushioning!), check the mirrors, and you’ll know where it’s safe to ride. While you’re there, brush up on your skills securing your bike on the bus’ bike rack.

When buses and bikes share space on the road, visibility is the key to safety. Metrobus operators receive regular training on safety around bicyclists, but they need your help as well.

Remember these tips when riding near buses: Read more…

Categories: In The News Tags: , ,

Designing the SelectPass Test Phase

May 4th, 2016 7 comments

The new Metro SelectPass is structured to to maximize pilot participation while minimizing the risks.  Making that happen involves overcommitting to truth in advertising – and we’re fine with that!

The two most likely fare levels for the SelectPass are $2.25 and $3.75.

The two fare levels most likely to be popular for the SelectPass are $2.25 and $3.75.

We are excited about the launch of the new SelectPass pilot.  As we have begun to roll out this new pass product, we are listening to your questions (via twitter, comments posted to articles, etc.) and we hope to address as many of them through the proper venues.  PlanItMetro seems to be the best forum to answer the persistent question, “Is this really only for two fare levels, and why don’t you tell everyone that they can probably save money?”

Testing the capacity of the Fare System

When we roll out new features, we want to eliminate as many risks as possible before committing to them.  In this case, the primary risk Metro faces is that our aging fare technology might not be able to accommodate a very different fare product such as SelectPass.  So we developed a program to test the pass at two individual “levels” as a proof of concept and not push any limits of our fare collection technology. Read more…

Categories: Engage Tags: , , , , ,

16th Street Plan Offers Big Benefits, Great Value

April 25th, 2016 No comments

DDOT’s 16th Street transit plan will benefit Metrobus riders, drivers and taxpayers alike and could “break even” in just a year and a half.

We know the problems with buses on 16th Street NW: overcrowding, slow speeds, lengthy boarding times, and bunched buses. While both the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Metro have made several small but important improvements in the past two years to improve traffic flow and increase bus capacity on 16th Street, both agencies realize that more needs to be done. Now, after a year of detailed study in partnership with Metro, DDOT has developed a set of recommendations (PDF) that will save time and improve the customer experience in the coming years. As an added bonus, it comes with a relatively cheap price tag, yielding great value for taxpayers.

16th Street Crowding

Riders aboard a crowded S-Line bus (click for study information)

Read more…

Metrobus Z-Line Will Get a Revamp on March 27

March 23rd, 2016 3 comments

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Z Line buses at the Silver Spring Transit Center in November 2015. Photo by WMATA.

Bus riders on the Z routes on Colesville Road/Columbia Pike (MD US29) will see better service, simpler route names, and more, starting March 27.

Metro is overhauling the bus schedules on the Z-lines in the Silver Spring-Laurel area. The changes are derived from the recommendations from the Metrobus Z-Line Study, an in-depth planning process. The study, completed in January 2015, was a joint effort between Metro, the Maryland Department of Transportation, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation to improve service. These seven routes combined have some of the highest ridership in the Metrobus system, making the corridor ripe for evaluation and improvement.

The following changes for the Colesville Road / Columbia Pike (MD US29) (PDF) corridor are effective March 27.

What’s Coming:

  • The new Z Lines will consist of the Z2, Z6, Z7, Z8, and Z11, with new timetables.
  • Z9, Z13, and Z29 route designations will be eliminated.

New Saturday service will be added to Route Z6, providing customers with links to commercial developments in Westfarm area and the Plum Orchard Shopping Center. The new service will operate every 30 minutes. The Z8 on Saturday will be reduced to operate every 30 minutes, providing a coordinated 15 minute service along portions shared with the Z6. Additionally, trip times for weekday Z2, Z6 and Z8 service will change to improve on time performance and better coordinate buses along Colesville Road and Lockwood Drive.

Routes Z9 and Z29 will be discontinued and replaced by new route Z7. Route Z7 will provide service from Silver Spring Metrorail Station to South Laurel Park and Ride serving: Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville Crossing Park and Ride, Sweitzer Lane, Van Dusen Road, and Cherry Lane.  The new Z7 will increase the frequency of service to residents of South Laurel by operating every thirty minutes.

Route Z11 will be extended from Greencastle Park and Ride to Burtonsville Crossing Park and Ride via Columbia Pike (US-29). Current Z29 customers boarding buses at the stops in the area of Blackburn Road will now be served by the Z11. Route designation Z13 will be discontinued. Passengers currently using the Z13 in the morning to get to Greencastle may opt to take routes Z6 and Z8 instead.

With the new services, passengers out of Burtonsville Crossing Park and Ride will now see increased service to Silver Spring. All current boarding and alighting restrictions along Colesville Road and Columbia Pike will remain in place.

These changes will allow Metro to better align resources to provide effective service in the corridor.

Check out the upcoming timetables to plan your trip.

Bus Service Is Improving for Greenbelt residents, including new Sunday service and more

March 22nd, 2016 No comments

We are improving bus service to the Greenbelt area at the end of March – simpler routes, better coordination with other routes, and new weekend service!

Residents, local advocates, and city officials in Greenbelt have been asking for improved service for years, and for good reason. Demand for bus service in Greenbelt is high – the Greenbelt-New Carrollton Line has the highest Saturday ridership of any lines with 6 day-a-week service. So last year, our bus planners proposed a series of changes that would improve bus service in the Greenbelt area. After an extensive public outreach process, a planning staff recommendation, and a board approval, we got the green light! The changes at Greenbelt, along with many others, begin March 27.

What’s coming to Greenbelt?

  • New Sunday service on routes G12, G14, and C2!
  • Simplifications to the College Park Line (routes 81, 82, 83, 86) and the Greenbelt-New Carrollton Line (routes G12, G13, G14, G16)
  • Elimination of the low-performing Greenbelt-Prince George’s Plaza Line (route R3)

On the College Park Line and Greenbelt-New Carrollton Line, we are removing routing nuances and complicated lines to make bus service more consistent and understandable to customers.

Original map submitted to the public and board for G12,13,14,16 changes in FY2015 that are being implemented on March 27, 2016.

Original map submitted to the public and board for G12,13,14,16 changes in FY2015 that are being implemented on March 27, 2016.

On the College Park Line, route 83 will now run seven days a week. Now that we’re adding Sunday C2, G12, and G14 service (see below), the Sunday-only route 81 is no longer needed, so we will replace it with route 83 trips. At its inception, the 81 was a route 83 variation intended to give Greenbelt Sunday service when there was no other bus route serving Greenbelt Metrorail station on Sundays.  This means that route 83 will run seven days a week, and the College Park Line will consistently serve the College Park – U of MD Metrorail station.

On the Greenbelt-New Carrollton Line, route G13 and G16 trips will be replaced with G14 trips (though some early morning trips will continue to bypass Beltway Plaza) and service on Aerospace Road will be eliminated due to low ridership. We are also adding Sunday service! The result of the restructuring is that the Greenbelt-New Carrollton Line will consist of two routes – G12 and G14 – that will run seven days a week. Even better, the Saturday and Sunday schedules will be the same, so riders only need to remember a weekday and weekend schedule. Read more…

New Route Schedules Coming Sunday, March 27

March 21st, 2016 No comments

Metro is changing bus schedules across the region starting Sunday, March 27. Stay tuned to PlanItMetro for an in-depth look at two of the biggest changes: the Greenbelt area, and the Z-Lines.

Metrobus planners will be implementing schedule adjustments to improve reliability, route simplicity, and customer service.  Most of these changes are the latest round in Metro’s ongoing State of Good Operations process.

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Check below to see if your routes will be affected by any of the changes, then prepare yourself for March 27 by viewing the new timetables.

  • DC: 34, 45, 56, 63, 64, 90, 92, 93, A8, B8, B9, E2, G8, H6, H8, H9, S2, S4, S9
  • MD: 81, 82, 83, 89, 89M, C2, C8, G12, G13, G14, G16, J5, J7, J9, K11, K12, Q1, Q2, Q4, R3, V14, V15, W19, Y2, Y7, Y8, Z2, Z6, Z7 (NEW), Z8, Z9, Z11, Z13, Z29
  • VA: 3Y, 7A, 7H, 7X, 7Y, 16H, 16X, Metroway, S91 (TAGS)

SelectPass Pilot: Making it Easier to Plan, Pay, and Ride

March 11th, 2016 27 comments

Customers showed high levels of interest in a customizable monthly pass.

pass_interest

Metro customer interest in a new unlimited monthly pass concept, by market segment.*

Metro is not raising fares this year, and instead is innovating ways to make it easier and more affordable to use the system.  Metro is taking a page from private industry, which has moved away from charging customers for each purchase and towards giving customers the option to “subscribe” to a company in exchange for unlimited access.  A Netflix subscription has replaced a membership at the local video store.  Amazon Prime offers unlimited shipping rather than shipping on each item.  Spotify subscriptions have replaced purchasing individual CDs.  Why not a subscription to use Metro?

Fortunately, we found a way to provide this to our customers and we’re really excited to begin testing it out starting this month.  The idea is to allow customers the ability to customize an unlimited access pass based on their usual travel patterns. Modeled after Seattle’s Puget Pass and frequently discussed on Greater Greater Washington over the past few years, this pass would allow customers to subscribe to a monthly pass, priced based on their typical trip costs, that offers unlimited travel on rail and the option to add on the same flexibility on bus.  We are calling it the Metro SelectPass.

Here’s the basic concept.  Customers tell Metro their usual start points and end points.  We then figure out how much that trip costs and offer you unlimited travel on rail up to that value in exchange for you buying 18 days worth of trips.  For example, if a customer’s “usual” peak trip is $2.25, they can get a pass priced at $81.00 (about $2.25 x 18 x 2) and then all trips valued at $2.25 or less would be free for an entire calendar month.  Extra trips for lunch, a night on the town, doctor’s appointment – it’s all included in one low price.  If you travel on a more expensive trip for any reason, you only pay the difference for that trip.  Most customers may enjoy savings of over 20% off of the pay-as-you-go rate, and they’ll also get the benefit of knowing they can travel as much as they want, whenever they want, all for one price.

For an additional $45 per month, customers can choose to add unlimited bus travel on top of unlimited rail travel.  That’s a huge savings compared to pay-as-you-go!  Read more…

Making the Case for Downtown Bus Lanes at TRB Annual Meeting

February 23rd, 2016 No comments

At the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting last month, Metro, together with DDOT and AECOM, presented the H and I Streets Bus Lanes as a case study of a bus lane in a downtown environment. TCRP Report 118 concluded that arterial bus lanes, ranging from low-cost restriping of existing lanes to new bus lanes, could offer 12-57% reliability improvements.

The presentation, built upon the 2013 study – H and I Streets Bus Improvements, highlighted the need for actions for all users and provided a range of improvement options for the H and I Streets corridor through downtown DC. We discussed details of the bus lane alternatives and benefits back in November 2013, and in the study’s final report (PDF). Here is a snapshot of the alternatives considered in the study:

Bus summary

Summary of Alternatives, click for a larger version.

The TRB session participants were interested in the status of the study recommendations, and raised a big question on how to solve bus delays in a large downtown area including river crossings.  The good news is that DDOT is including the bus lane alternatives in a new study — more details soon — that aims to improve the urban design and enhance the streetscape along Pennsylvania Avenue between 17th St. NW and Washington Circle.  The DDOT study intends to assess the operational feasibility of the contra-flow bus lane on H Street – the best performing bus lane alternative in the 2013 study. This study will be initiated in 2016.

Stay tuned.

Update, 2/25/2016:  The paper has been accepted for publication in the Transportation Research Record, Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

Categories: Engage Tags: , , , ,

Regional Transit Opportunities Explored

February 11th, 2016 1 comment

You name it, we tested it as possible opportunities to carry future demand and here’s what we found out.

Metro is completely focused on safety, reliability, and financial stability.  It’s also our job to ensure that the regional transit system improves mobility and connects communities.  So we’ve had many posts on ConnectGreaterWashington over the last few years describing the importance of a regional approach to transit planning. Posts include FAQs, how different modes compare, the paramount importance of transit-supportive land use, an approach to assessing Metrorail, BRT, and LRT expansion projects, and the overall proposed plan for Metrorail and surface transit to name a few.

List of Transit Corridors, Projects, and Plans Analyzed as Part of CGW

List of Transit Corridors, Projects, and Plans Analyzed as Part of CGW

Finally, we have completed a set of one- to two-page summaries for all the strategies, plans and projects we tested in our evaluation of future needs and opportunities. Note, these summaries are inclusive of everything that we analyzed over the course of ConnectGreaterWashington, but only some are recommended to advance. Some strategies were recommended (e.g. eight-car trains), others were not recommended (e.g. Kansas Ave. infill station), while many were partially recommended (e.g. the I-66 corridor beyond Vienna shows promise as bus rapid transit, light rail, or enhanced bus, but not Metrorail unless and until additional housing and/or jobs are guided to the station areas and new Metrorail lines are added in the core).

Due to the size of the pdfs, the summaries are divided into three documents. First, are the new Metrorail lines in the core, eight-car trains, and interline connections (pdf updated February 24, 2016). Second, are Metrorail pedestrian tunnels, extensions, and infill stations (pdf updated February 24, 2016). Third, are all of the other modes’ strategies, plans, and projects (pdf updated February 24, 2016). All documents include bookmarks to help you find the various summaries by topic area.

Each strategy, project, or plan includes:

  • A summary of the strategy;
  • The goals that were addressed;
  • The regional activity centers connected;
  • A map that shows the project or plan;
  • Key findings for each such as ridership (including new transit riders vs riders gained from other existing modes), transfers, crowding, connectivity, and surrounding density; and
  • Recommendations for this strategy.

As we and the region continue to grapple with today’s safety, operations and maintenance needs, while also planning for future growth, we will continue to refer to the CGW work undertaken to date. Let us know how you can imagine this body of work being used in the future.